Is it possible to live the Christian life with the Ten Commandments as a standard for living? I submit it is because my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ combined all ten commandments into two when asked which was the great commandment of the law:
“Jesus said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)
The first and great commandment is a summation of the first four of the Ten Commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before Me; 2) You shall not make for yourself a carved image; 3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; and 4) Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Our love is to be upwardly towards heaven.
The second commandment is like the first and it sums up the last six of the Ten Commandments: 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) You shall not murder; 7) You shall not commit adultery; 8) You shall not steal; 9) You shall not bear false witness; and 10) You shall not covet.
Our love is to be outwardly toward others and equal to our love for ourselves. We do not have to love others more than we love ourselves, just equal. We love others with a Christlike love and love ourselves not because we have a healthy self-esteem. No where in the Bible does it tell us to esteem ourselves. Rather, we are to have a healthy self-image, one the parallels how Christ sees us. We who have trusted Christ for salvation are redeemed and adopted children, part of the family of God:
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
There are some who say we are no longer under the law, but Jesus told us that He came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. So what does that mean? It means when Jesus died on the cross He fulfilled the Law by paying the sacrificial price for our cleansing of sins. We have Jesus as our compassionate high priest:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15)
The beauty of the Ten Commandments is they act as a mirror into our souls. For those of you who have never surrendered your life for Christ, the Ten Commandments show your need for a Savior. For those of us who are born again believers in Christ, it is our standard for living. When I break one of God’s commandments, the Holy Spirit shows me my transgression and I must repent and confess my sin and be reconciled unto God. Jesus made that possible on the cross.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
My using the Ten Commandments as a standard for living is not some legalistic way to make myself acceptable to God and earn my way into heaven. That is humanly impossible. No, it is how I live out the salvation I received through the grace of God and His Son Jesus Christ:
“Lord, I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:166)
Did the psalmist hope God would save him if he kept God’s commandments? No, a hope in salvation is confidently expecting in the promises of God. This world is not our home and we can expect greater eternal things when we are reunited with Christ in heaven. We don’t do God’s commandments in hope of reaping earthly rewards. We do God’s commandments because of what our eternal future holds and to hear our Savior say well done good and faithful servant. Hoping in what we can see and touch is not Biblical hope:
“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Romans 8:24-25)
It is our hope in our eternal future that keeps us keeping on. It is what keeps me doing God’s commandments.
In what are you placing your hope?
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject. You can purchase Dave’s four devotional books by visiting his Amazon author page.
Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers